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Sony Xperia Z5 review

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Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Fantastic display
  • Camera works well in varying conditions
  • Excellent fingerprint scanner

Cons

  • Uncomfy design
  • Dated UI
  • It gets too hot

Key Features

  • 5.2-inch 1080p display
  • Snapdragon 810 chip
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • Android 5.1.1
  • 23MP/5MP cameras
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £549.00

What is the Sony Xperia Z5?

Sitting between the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact and Sony Xperia Z5 Premium, the regular Z5 might seem like the least interesting of the trio. It doesn’t have the small, yet powerful nature of the Compact or the 4K display of the Premium.

But, if you spend some time with the Xperia Z5 you'll realise it's a great phone; with an ace camera, vibrant display and plenty of power tucked underneath its frosted glass back.

It rights many of the wrongs caused by the awful Z3+ and, while it's still far from perfect, it’s probably the best Xperia currently on the market.

Sony Xperia Z5 review – Screen

Sony uses a lot of buzzwords when talking about Xperias' Triluminous and Bravia Mobile Engine screen technology. Most of the time it's marketing drivel so I'm not going to bore you with it. All you need to know is the screen on the Xperia Z5 is fantastic, in pretty much every way. It’s bright, vibrant, accurate at representing colours and packed with detail.

Related: The best smartphones 2015

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Sony says quad-HD doesn’t really add anything to phone screens of this size and for the most part I agree with them. This is why I'm not bothered by the fact that, unlike Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Motorola’s Moto X Style, it doesn’t include a pixel-dense quad-HD panel.

I can’t pick out individual pixels on its 1080p screen and the IPS LCD panel displays colours with fantastic amounts of accuracy. Whites are bright, yellows and reds are vivid without becoming oversaturated and if you don’t jack the brightness up too high, blacks are deep and inky.

Viewing angles are also fantastic and it’s surprisingly useable in bright light, with glare rarely becoming an issue.

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Related: Sony Xperia Z6 release date

Sony Xperia Z5 review – Design

Sony clearly believes it’s on to a winner with the overall look of the Xperia series, because its phones' designs have barely changed at all over the past four years. I would have liked to see a bit of a refresh this time around, but there’s no doubting that Sony has made a sleek smartphone. The straight sides blend seamlessly into rounded corners and both the front and back are covered in Gorilla Glass.

Generally, I’m not a fan of phones with glass backs. The glass attracts smudges and they’re far too easy to crack. I must have gone through at least four iPhone 4s and even the strengthened glass on the back of my Samsung Galaxy S6 cracked after a drop from barely a foot.

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My first issue is solved by the frosted glass used here. It stays completely smudge free and has a lovely matte finish. I didn’t even think it was glass when I took the Xperia Z5 out of the box, as it feels more like plastic to the touch.

As I haven’t dropped it yet – thankfully – I can’t say whether or not it’ll be forever damaged after a meeting with a concrete slab, but my instinct says that it would.

This time around, Sony has ditched the circular metal power button that was present on all other Xperia devices and replaced it with a flatter, longer version.

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There’s good reason for the change, as it now has a fingerprint sensor baked in. Fingerprint readers on Android have hit the big time, but no one is really sure yet where the best place for them to go is. On the back below the camera? On the front? Nope. Sony’s side-mounted version is the best yet.

Putting the sensor into the button you always use to unlock the device just makes sense and Sony’s interpretation is fast and accurate. Out of twenty tries, the scanner worked flawlessly every time.

I do have a few issues with the Xperia Z5’s design, however. The biggest being the placement of the volume keys. They’re situated just on the lower right hand side and I find myself constantly hitting them accidentally when I reach for the power button.

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I also really dislike how the rim ever so slightly juts out past the glass back. It makes the phone uncomfortable to hold, with it digging into my palms.

Unlike the Xperia Z5 Compact, which is a little on the chunky side, the vanilla Z5 is slim, measuring 7.3mm.

Like previous Xperia Z phones, the Z5 is waterproof and holds an IP68 rating. With it being waterproof you’d expect to be able to use it in, you know, water? But Sony thinks otherwise. It doesn’t want you actually using it like a GoPro in the swimming pool or shower. Instead it’s there to protect from an accidental drop in your cup of tea or being left out in the rain.

Thankfully, just like the Z3 and Z3+, there aren’t any pesky flaps covering up the ports. No one like flaps covering up those vital ports, do they?

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

fried_egg

September 2, 2015, 8:20 pm

Perhaps Sony should have made the Z3+ look ugly so the Z5 would look as good as it does... some people don't like the Sony looks but then again I bet they liked Beige Maestro cars and Clarks Air shoes... you know, people with no style at all

Dead Words

September 2, 2015, 8:46 pm

I actually quite like the Xperia line but I'm quickly losing interest.
I'd like to see a complete refresh of the line. I'm hoping Sony lets the Z6 cook for an entire year and comes back with a whole new look and approach to hardware.
On this phone, I love the fingerprint scanner, microSD card slot, and waterproof design. Seems like a decent phone, but also a tad disappointing.

adrianeds

September 15, 2015, 8:40 pm

Wow how negative, yet your sooo excited about the iPhone 6s and that is exactly the same to look at as the iPhone 6, yet because it's Apple that's fine. Do try to hide your complete bias, or is that just to hard for you!!!!

David Tabernero

October 19, 2015, 1:53 pm

BAD REVIEW! "Great camera" Absolutely false!!!!!! The camera delays about 2 or 3 seconds in open and there is lag between you push button and get the photo. See Sony forums if you don't believe me

BogBeast

October 19, 2015, 2:05 pm

Hmm. The whole review is "BAD" because the reviewer didn't suffer the problems that you have seen talked about on an internet forum? The reviewer seems to have taken more than few pictures and I am sure (judging by the other comments made) that they would have mentioned it if it had happened.

Out of interest - do you have the Z5? If so do you suffer the lag?

David Tabernero

October 19, 2015, 2:25 pm

I have the z5c. I speak about I know. I have lag in camera, album and dialer. What I would like to say is that is an important factor to say in a review.
If you see verge review, the reviewer speaks about that

Eno

October 19, 2015, 6:58 pm

It's so annoying that man can't see full size images in your reviews. You talk bla bla bla about image quality and only show small and irrelevant pictures. Get your facts strait and post full seize sample, easily accessible!

chaosdefinesorder

October 20, 2015, 8:59 am

That's not a bad camera, that's bad software...

Samson Okoro

October 29, 2015, 3:02 pm

So the guy should say what he didn't experience on his or her unit cause verge said something similar and cause you claim to own a z5c? I know several others who own them and they all have great things to say. I want the premium so will hold out till its out. It is so easy to type anything online really. U mention the verge, i can point out several other reviews that don't say any of these things and have nothing but great things to say.

Samson Okoro

October 29, 2015, 3:07 pm

A good review in general apart from the fact that he says it isn't the best phone out there cause it doesn't stand out from the crowd. Apart from the edge screen what new hardware feature has Samsung brought to the table? People should try and be objective, that is what makes an opinion carry weight. The Sony has PS4 compatibility, has hi res audio, has noise cancelling tech, is water proof, has a micro sd card to mention a few and yet it has nothing that stands out? U Guys should be far more objective when reviewing a product.

David Tabernero

October 29, 2015, 3:13 pm

I talk about my experience. Why you don't visit Sony forums.?

Eno

November 19, 2015, 2:27 pm

The only thing they must hide is Apple (and other companies as well) sponsoring their articles. :(

adrianeds

November 21, 2015, 10:27 pm

I have the Z5 Premium & there is no camera lag at all, well no lag anywhere. My mate at work has the Z5 & has no problems, he has come from an iPhone 6 & is super impressed with the Z5. I visit Sony Forums regularly & have only seen one or two with this complaint. However, if you've been unlucky then that's a shame.

Mc JefFz

March 1, 2016, 1:31 pm

Such a stupid production!

I bought this Sony Handphone Z5 Premium silver which they claim as the so called WATERPROOF !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bought the phone and used it was well.

Within 13 days the real drama started whereby the charger is nt functioning and send it to the TIMES SQUARE SONY CENTRE that promised to fix my phone within 1 week. And waited no calls,i've called to follow up regarding my own phone. They such a lousy service where they never follow up cust.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok then they contacted me after a week. Then I got the phone back.. Now the speaker gone. When i collected the phone they mention that the motherboard and Battery gone...WTF !!!!!!!

DONT CHEAT CUSTOMERS!

If its so called waterproof...how come it can be spoiled just by entering a swimming pool?

How come the motherboard can be affected?

And If yes also..! Within 13 days after buy ?

Hahhahaah

Jon

May 6, 2016, 9:22 am

Sony phones are now on sale online only at AndroidSmartphoneDeals;com

Ashwani

June 12, 2016, 4:14 pm

Sony
has the worst after sales service. 3 Months after using the phone it started giving trouble. Then the nightmare started. you need to send device via Post
for free but once your device is gone you are at whims of Sony and it
takes at least 3 weeks to get back and Sony will charge £21 for postage
and admin which they get your device. Its like paying Ransom :) I would
never advise anyone to buy it.

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